Like any transition in life, moving to a collegiate atmosphere offered me many opportunities for change. Although some differences may have been voluntary, the transformation left me grateful for the following:

Sleep

A good night’s sleep is vital to maintaining mental, physical and emotional health, and can make or break your ability to conquer the day ahead. Although it is easy to remember this important fact, many times in college the execution is hard to match. As a sophomore, I can undoubtedly attest to this reality. Late nights become second nature and you can find it harder and harder to hit the hay early. While playing the role of a classic Trinity student who loves to be deeply involved in campus life at the expense of sleep, I have learned to appreciate the magic of a good night’s rest.

Home-cooked meals

Just as sleep is a source of energy, food is fuel for your body. Mabee Dining Hall is filled with buffet style options, a very different serving style than offered at home. There is a pretty great chance that when living at home, your parents were not preparing daily meals for this many students. Additionally, there was likely no fret about Mabee swipes running low or the dreaded loss of bonus bucks. Life at home meant meals from an oven and not a microwave. Even though you will likely love Mabee and its delectable cookies, and maybe even Easy Mac, it won’t be surprising if you missed your mom’s signature dish. I sure did.

Parental Advice

My parents were the last thing on my mind as I walked into this new and mysterious world called Trinity University. I was ready to live life and manage my own affairs away from the people who had guided me since birth. I thought I had it all in the bag. Ironically, I found that the old adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” may hold some truth. Calling home when I encountered difficulties, I found that my parents’ life experiences were more valuable than ever. Even if I hate to admit it, I discovered that my folks may actually know more than I would like to admit.

Mail

Although mail as a form of communication is a dying art form, parents and extended family like to bring it back into style in college. In a world of text messages and snapchats, the actual act of receiving something via snail mail is new found fun for me. Being in touch, literally and figuratively, gives a level of sentimentality when communicating with my loved ones. The pilgrimage to the mail center to claim that one item may be a trek, but receiving it is exciting. Eventually, I realized I couldn’t sort through texts and calls to feel the texture of my family. The act of receiving mail made me feel connected to my old home and snail mail found a special place in my heart.

Your own door

An important part of the college experience is being forced to live with a stranger. Trinity definitely takes this seriously, requiring students to live on campus for at least three years before being given the option to live off-campus (until the recent overcrowding, which forced a reevaluation of the associated on-campus housing rules). For me, at least, privacy is golden. And for those of you who had privacy before coming to Trinity, it is one of the last things you take for granted and the first you miss.

Although your list will certainly be different than mine,  during this year you’ll surely discover newfound differences that will make you appreciate your home away from home while still evoking nostalgia for your childhood.